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June 18, 2016

Do you believe in magic?

IMG_3923A little over two years ago, my pal Dezi came to live with us. I thought it was a temporary thing, but I soon realized, perhaps even before Dezi did, that it was permanent. No one asked me if this would be okay because I think they just assumed that I would understand and I suppose on some level I did. Dezi needed a home and he was most comfortable in ours so here he landed and here he will stay.

In April, Dezi was diagnosed with a very large tumor in his middle ear. This made us all sad because, given his age (14.5), even the surgeon advised against surgery. We have no idea how fast the tumor is growing and while the tests for cancer came back inconclusive, it’s still a mass growing in his ear making him unsteady on his already elderly legs. He has quite a head tilt, IMG_3943walks a bit like a drunken sailor, and at times falls over, like when he shakes his head or is moving a bit too fast.

We thought his prognosis wasn’t very good and so we prepared ourselves. But here we are, mid-June and Dezi is doing ok. He has his bad days– about one a week — but the majority of his days are good — slow and steady. We know that eventually we will need to say goodbye, but today he is here with us — happy, content, and still enjoying life.

And this makes me happy because despite my hesitancy, I love him, I’m happy he’s my brother, and I hope he can stay with us a long as he can.

And then this happened…IMG_6631

My Aunt Patti sent a photo from her vacation of a young pup who showed up at her hotel. When we first saw the photo we all gasped — it was Dezi’s doppleganger! We shared the photo with our good friend, Randi, who, without hesitation said, “This is a sign. He needs to come here!”

And so began the wheels of destiny for young Blue…that’s what Patti named him, little Blue…a street dog from southern lands. He was welcomed into the hotel, loved by Patti and her sisters, and taken to the vet for shots, neutering, and a physical exam. He has some medical issues, but they are all being treated and once all the paperwork was in order, he boarded a plane with Patti and headed north.

IMG_3998I have yet to meet him, but Gretchen picked him up at the airport with Randi and both of them fell madly in love. His first stop was to Classy Canines for training and assessment. That’s where he is now and according to the trainer, he’s doing remarkably well — getting along with other dogs, cats, kids, etc.

But what’s next for Blue? This is where I’m a bit worried. First, IMG_4003with Dezi stable but clearly on the final leg of his journey, I’m not sure taking on a new dog is the best for Dezi. Second, I’m not sure I’m ready to share my home with another dog. I am kind of one-dog family and while I’ve taken Dezi in as my brother, I’m not sure I’m ready to do it again. Lastly, I’m not sure Momma Ann is ready for another dog either. She’s always been of the firm belief that the right dog will come to us when we’re ready. Is that Blue? Hard to say since neither of us have met him…but still…are we ready for this?

I can tell, though, that this Blue is a special dog. Patti fell head over heels in love with him, but is unable to keep him. Gretchen fell head over heels too, but she knows that both Ann and I need to be on board before she takes on any other dog. And Randi loves him too. IMG_8699.JPG-1And so does the trainer.

Luckily, there are a few people we know who are interested…in fact, they are lining up, but we are waiting until Blue is ready.

In the meantime, all of this has given me pause (paws). In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot about magic, which I know may sound odd, but somehow, the more I contemplate Dezi’s inevitable passing and Blue’s arrival, the more the topic of magic crosses my mind.

There are lots of definitions for the word magic — a lot having to do with sleight of hand and fooling people. This is not the kind of magic I have been thinking about. The definition I like has to do with mystery — the beauty of the unexplained. Like the magic of seeing a beautiful sunrise or the color of the leaves as they turn in Autumn or the sight of beef liver cookies added onto your daily meal.IMG_3682

I can see now that Dezi’s coming to live with us, while a result of tragic events, has been a beautiful experience for all of us. He has taught me so much about myself, about love, about patience (an important lesson for me), and about acceptance.

Then Blue shows up on my favorite Aunt’s doorstep and while I am a little nervous about what it all means, I realize there may be some unexplained magic in this event. I’m not sure what that might be, but when I look at Blue and those big ears, when I realize how much he looks like Dezi I think I might allow myself to believe in magic.

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April 30, 2016

Unemployed

Okay, so we sold the business. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. One day I’m employed andIMG_3535 the next day I’m not. Snap of the fingers and POOF! No job. No work. My career ended.

I was bitter at first. I mean, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. Sure, I’d heard Gretchen talking about it for years — her feet hurt, her body was tired, she wanted to focus more on massage, swim and acupressure therapies — but she never followed through with the selling. Literally, for years she talked about it but it all just seemed like talk. No action.

And then BAM! I’m unemployed, one wag short of being on the dole. A welfare doodle.

IMG_3676Uncertain of what to do with myself, I was thrown into the world of nursing when both Gretchen and Momma Ann came down sick with the flu and then Gretchen’s flu turned to bronchitis or perhaps walking pnemonia. I mean a really really bad bout of illness. Flat on their backs kind of sick with lots of coughing and congestion and requests for me to relax.

I am not a good nurse.

I am a good dog walker. IMG_3682

But I am not a good nurse.

Dezi is much better at it than me because frankly, in my book, dog nurses are only required to show up and be quiet. Once they accomplish that, not much more is asked of them. Dezi does that really well. In fact, Dezi loves doing that.

Me? Not so much.

IMG_3529I mean, think about it? One day I’m walking 6 dogs during the day, racking up the miles and then the next day, asked to lie on the couch and be quiet.

No, I did not handle it well.

Then my sick moms decided to take a break and head IMG_6059over the mountains to see if dry Eastern Washington air and some quiet cabin time would cure their ills. To me this was the most glorious idea in the entire world not because we’d be resting on the couch all day, but because I could be off leash and roaming the woods while my moms soaked up the warm, dry air and IMG_3539Dezi continued his role as nurse.

It was two days of bliss.

Then reality hit when we got home.

I am unemployed.

Luckily for me, my unemployment didn’t last too long. We picked up my best girl friend on Monday morning, sweet Woobie, and then another girlfriend on IMG_3558Wednesday, equally sweet Roxanne and I was back in business. Okay, it’s not the same as dog walking every day with all sorts of different dogs, but it was still a job and if there’s anything I’ve learned in my days as an unemployed dog, it’s that I need a job.

I need a job because it makes me feel worthwhile. It makes me feel useful and special and as if I am contributing something useful to the world. I need a job to wear me out, to keep my brain limber and my joints oiled. I need a job so I don’t feel like a freeloader, to pay IMG_3581for my expensive but nutritious food, my chiropractic sessions (and Dezi’s acupuncture treatments), and for all the silly things my moms buy us — expensive treats, outrageous sweaters (for Dezi), and fancy collars that match our color schemes.

And I need a job so I’m not a brat. Yes, I’ll admit it. Without exercise and purpose, I am a brat. I bark too much, I demand even more, and drive my moms crazy wanting them to throw the ball or play tug or chase me around the yard.

I need to be exhausted at the end of the day otherwise I worry myself (and all those around me) silly. I need to sleep soundly dreaming of all the hard work I’ve accomplished during the week. I need to work so hard I need a vacation every now and again and that, my friends, requires employment. IMG_3695

I’ve thought about putting an ad in the paper — Dog for Hire — or on Craig’s List or even going door to door to see if there’s some work I can do for our neighbors. Gretchen won’t let me go out unattended and every time I’m on the computer (like now) she has to supervise.

Still, I try to convince her that a working dog is better than a non-working dog or maybe I should say a working Rubin is better than a not working Rubin, but she has this silly idea in her head that I’m going to get used to my new role.

More time with her, she says.

More time exploring new places, she says.

More family outings, she says.

More time to relax, she says.IMG_6274

Be patient, she says. You’ll see, she says. Life will be good, she says.

Whatever. After one week of unemployment, I am so over it!!!

Find me a new job, I tell her.

Find me a new purpose, I insist.

Or beware…I will find it for myself.

Sigh.

All my protestations don’t seem to be making a difference.

I am still unemployed and befuddled as to how to rectify my current situation.

IMG_3544I’ve even consulted Dezi and being of a Zen mind and spirit, he hasn’t been that much help either.

Take a nap is his advice. Breathe, he says. Stop and smell the flowers. Slow down and enjoy the little things in life — like the couch, the sun on the back porch, the added snack in your bowl, an early bed time, a vigorous scratch on your bottom. Live in the moment.

I know Dezi is wise beyond his years, but it’s hard for me to take his advice.

And that’s probably the most troubling part about being unemployed. It’s hard work. Harder than walking 10 miles in a day. Harder than being drenched by an unexpected rain storm or blown off course by 50 mile gusts of wind. It’s harder than tolerating IMG_3625puppies pulling at my ears or getting my leash tangled with four other dogs as we march up yet another long hill.

And just when I thought I was going to die from boredom we started dog walking again. Ok, not full time, just fill in when Eileen (who bought the business and now calls it Paws with Wonder) needed help. We didn’t do a lot of work or a lot of walking, but for me, it was pure bliss.

I could do this, I thought. I could do dog walking part time, but Gretchen told me not to get too used to it because it wouldn’t be a consistent thing. There wasn’t a lot of time in the new schedule to do part-time dog walking work.

Still, those few days of dog walking kept me from pulling my tail off my body, my ears from my head…and it gave me pause to realize that I was spending more time with Gretchen and not working so hard was easier on my body too and it left time for me to do things with IMG_3704my moms that I never had time for…like going to the cabin, like taking long walks on lonely trials just with them without being bothered by other dogs, without my moms attention split between me and 4 other dogs.

I hate to admit it, but perhaps being unemployed isn’t a bad future. I mean, I’m no longer a spring chicken and the couch is really comfortable, especially if there’s the warm fuzzy blanket on the couch, especially if my moms are lying their with me. I suppose, if I really tried, I could get used to this.

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